Religious Education (RE) Policy
Countess Anne School
A Church of England Academy
Foundational text: ’I pray that you……may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ’
Living God Love Vision:
- Academic provision that recognises the need for excellence in teaching and learning.
- Holistic provision that encourages Christian hope; building spirit and soul through faith orientated pastoral care.
- Inspirational provision through a modern curriculum that celebrates diversity and provides new opportunities.
Religious Education Policy.
At Countess Anne School the R.E. curriculum aims:
- To enable pupils to engage in an informed discussion about faith including being able to understand Christianity as a diverse global living faith, through exploring core beliefs and engaging with biblical text.
- To gain knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and world views while learning a deep respect for different religious traditions.
- To engage with challenging questions of the meaning and purpose of human existence and experience.
- To explore their own religious, spiritual and philosophical ways of living, believing and thinking.
- To recognise the influence of religion on British cultural heritage.
At Countess Anne School and as a Church of England School, Religious Education is considered a core subject and has a high profile within the curriculum.
Religious Education (RE) is not a National Curriculum subject, but must be taught to all pupils as part of the Basic Curriculum. As RE is not nationally determined, the Local Education Authority provides an Agreed Syllabus for us to follow should we choose to. As a Church of England Academy our RE curriculum is required by law to be determined by the Governors in accordance with the Trust Deed, as an expression of the values and principles on which the school stands i.e. the Anglican faith.
Countess Anne School has chosen Understanding Christianity as the basis of our planning and delivery of R.E whilst allowing teachers to refer to other resources where necessary.
Through helping to create informed and religiously literate individuals, Religious Education supports and strengthens our school values. (Respect, Kindness, Perseverance, Forgiveness, Courage and Gratitude). These values in turn look to create a community characterised by harmonious relationships, where both adults and children can flourish.
As a church school our children come from a diverse range of practising Christian families. In addition, there are children who are from religions other than Christianity and some from non-religious backgrounds. RE is concerned with “learning about religions” and “learning from religion” and thinking critically about different faiths and practices and what they mean to worshipers. It is not the practice of this school to preach to or convert the children. The faith background of both the staff and the children’s family is respected at all times. The rights of parents to withdraw their children from the teaching of RE is enshrined in the 1988 Education Reform Act. Any parent who wishes to do this must consult the Head teacher.
As part of our RE curriculum pupils are encouraged to witness and experience prayer. Prayer defined by Christians as conversing with God, either talking to God (saying what is on your heart) or listening (being quiet before God).
In addition, the R.E. curriculum will support pupils’ knowledge and understanding of British Values.
Learning in Religious Education:
Our vision of holistic provision emphasises the value we place on the development of the whole child, spiritually, morally, socially, culturally, and intellectually; this is reflected in the learning of R.E., combining elements of sociology, theology and philosophy as well as human and social sciences.
Religious Education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It challenges pupils to reflect on, consider, analyse, interpret and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics and to communicate their responses. Religious Education encourages all participants to reflect on their own beliefs and values and to acknowledge that others hold beliefs different from their own. This aims to prepare pupils for life by challenging cultural and religious stereotypes, prejudice and contributes to preventing extremism.
Through the use of Understanding Christianity our teaching and learning approach enables pupils to move from an understanding of the biblical text and how to handle it, to an understanding of what this means for Christians within the universal church and in Christian living, including opportunities for pupils to examine and evaluate connections between these ideas and the wider world.
Teaching in Religious education:
(Please also see Marking (through assessment for learning) and the school’s approach to assessment as outlined on the school website.
Teachers encourage the study of Christianity as a living and diverse faith, focused on the teaching of Jesus and the Church through sequenced learning about a range of religions and world views, fostering a deep respect for other religious traditions and the religious freedom of others.
In line with the requirements, RE is delivered flexibly according to the statutory requirements of the EYFS at Foundation Stage. At Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils, have a dedicated lesson each week of RE (approx. 45mins -1hour) and opportunities for cross-curricular learning are developed wherever possible. By providing opportunities for pupils to explore other religions and world views, RE is delivered in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner.
The R.E curriculum is built upon clear building blocks returning to concepts systematically and sequentially allowing pupils to build on previous learning and acquire a rich, deep knowledge and understanding of Christian belief and practice. In using the Understanding Christianity resource, teachers plan lessons that engage pupils with biblical text and challenge them through exploration and core concepts and questions. Additionally, the curriculum will provide opportunities for meaningful and informed discussion regarding a range of religions and worldviews, supporting their understanding of foundational text, beliefs, rituals and practices.
The building blocks contain clear knowledge steps against which pupils are assessed – please see Assessment – Foundation subjects on the school website.
The use of Understanding Christianity also promotes the teaching and learning of three elements:
1) Making sense of text, 2) Understanding Impact, 3) Making Connections.
It is expected that pupils when demonstrating a ‘secure’ knowledge will do so through application of the three elements. When demonstrating ‘mastery’ pupils will be expected to express their knowledge and challenge their thinking through use of Bloom’s higher level thinking skills such as analysis, evaluation and creation.
Spiral of concepts covered
Kingdom of God
Kingdom of God
Kingdom of God
Definitions of concepts covered:
- 1) God: Fundamental to world religions is the belief in a God. Christian belief is the existence of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The concept of the supreme being is shared by many of the world’s religions and in this section of the programme pupils will gain an understanding of how this is portrayed within Christianity and Islam.
In Y3 pupils are introduced to Islam. They will learn how Muslims perceive God, become familiar with other names used for God, and learn about how and where Muslims worship.
2) Creation: This concept explores the understanding that the universe and human life can be viewed as God’s good creation. Humans are made in the image of God. Humans have a tendency to go their own way rather than keep their place in relation to their Creation. This attitude is called sin, and Genesis 3 gives an account of this rebellion, popularly known as ‘the Fall’. This describes a catastrophic separation between God and humans, between humans and each other and the environment; setting out the root cause for many of humanity’s problems. The programme also allows for an understanding based purely on a scientific and humanist worldview – recognising that creation can be seen solely as a scientific phenomenon and that human beings have it within their capacity to successfully look after the planet and themselves.
In Y5 pupils also explore different world views, including that of Humanism, and perspectives on the Subject of Creation. They will have an opportunity to interpret and compare text from different world religions as well as scientific sources.
3) Incarnation: To begin with the programme focuses on how The New Testament presents this as a Christian concept, Jesus as the answer: the Messiah and Saviour, who will repair the effects of sin and the Fall offering a way for humans to be at one with God again. For Christians incarnation means that Jesus is God in the flesh, and that, in Jesus, God came to live among humans. The programme goes on to support pupils in their learning of how the concepts of incarnation and being saved are used in the religion of Hinduism.
In Y1 pupils will be introduced to Hinduism. They will learn about Hindus’ belief in reincarnation, how Brahman is expressed though different gods and goddesses and have an opportunity to compare a church to a Hindu temple.
4) Salvation: The programme looks at how the concept of salvation is portrayed through Jesus’ death and resurrection, affecting the rescue or salvation of humans by opening the way back to restoration with God through the forgiveness of sins. Pupils will also have opportunity to learn about how this concept and other important features of world religions are celebrated through Holly Weeks, including that of Ramadan in Islam. As they get older pupils will be encouraged to follow their own interests, finding out about figures of salvation from different world religions.
In Y6 pupils will further develop their understanding of Islam. They will learn about how Muslims live out their faith through adherence to the five pillars of Islam, the holy scripture of the Qur’an and through participation in Ramadan, a Holy Week in Islam.
5) Kingdom of God: The Bible relates the concept of ‘God’s Kingdom’ having begun in human hearts through Jesus. The idea of the ‘Kingdom of God’ reflects God’s ideal for human life in the world – a vision of life in the way God intended for human beings. Christians look forward to a time when God’s rule is fulfilled at some future point, in a restored transformed heaven and earth. The programme directs pupils learning about how this Kingdom of God is lived out across the world wide Christian church but also of how the world religion of Islam relates its own concept of the Kingdom of God.
In Y2 pupils will be introduced to the diversity of religions and world views including that of humanism. They will look at how humans try to improve the world, where they get their inspiration from to want to help improve the world, such as from sacred books, moral outlooks and other people.
6) Gospel: The concept of Gospel is represented within Christianity as Jesus’ incarnation is ‘Good News’ for all people. Gospel means ‘good news’. His life, teaching and ministry embody what it is like to be one of the people of God, what it means to live in relationship with God. Jesus’ example and teaching emphasise loving one’s neighbour - particularly the weak and vulnerable - as part of loving God. Pupils will have the opportunity to learn the idea of a Gospel is portrayed within Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, of how it challenges people to evaluate how they live their lives.
In Y4 Pupils will further develop their understanding of Hinduism. They will learn what Hindus mean by the term karma, how Sanskrit is used to inspire the Hindus way of life and how they would choose different pathways in order to attain Moksha.
Religious Education and the Whole Curriculum
RE teaching and learning will be the means to access wider cross-curricular themes and dimensions. There are clearly opportunities to explore multicultural and equal opportunity issues and to consider environmental concerns. Moral questions will be raised and a sense of citizenship will be promoted through many aspects of the RE curriculum. The RE curriculum will also complement elements of Personal, Social and Health Education and encourage children to make informed decisions and develop life skills. Links will be maintained with people and communities within the local area. Opportunities for expressing R.E. learning through different subjects will be made whenever possible, for example, through music (worship via songs, Diwali Dance Workshops), art, (Interpreting art, creating displays), D&T (Easter Gardens, assembling and flying kites linked to Jesus’ Ascension to Heaven) English (extensive writing, interpretation of the Holy Texts) and drama (Nativity Play performed by EYP, Easter Play performed by Y2 and 3, performing ‘freezes’ based on Biblical texts).
Countess Anne School endeavours to enhance all children’s (all year groups) R.E learning experiences by celebrating a variety of festivals, both religious (RE Day, Harvest Festival, Diwali, Christmas Day, Epiphany, Easter, Eid-ul-fitr,), and secular (Chinese New Year, Australia Day) closely cooperating with Whisper Inter Faith Group in order to organise regular other faiths visitors.
Harvest Festival, All Saints Day, Diwali Workshop, Reversed Advent Calendar, Christingles, Christmas Nativity Play,
Y4 on Three Faith Tour
Epiphany, Australia Day, Chinese New Year,
Pancake Day – linked with Ash Wednesday and Lent,
Jewish visitor – Whole School Passover Assembly
Y5 tour to WGC Synagogue
Easter celebrations, Mimi Mission Week including Easter Gardens, Kite flying linked to Jesus’ Ascension to Heaven,
RE Day, Tibetan Flags for Buddhist Festival of Wesak - The full moon (7th May 2021)
Buddhist visitor to Y6
Our R.E curriculum will also be used to reinforce our School Values. These are inspired by the Bible and they are part of our daily practice:
- Respect – through leading by example of being respectful towards one another
- (high behaviour expectations)
- Kindness – through leading by example, noticing and rewarding everyday acts of kindness (reaching out to the wider community, mini missions)
- Perseverance – through noticing, rewarding and celebrating hard work and determination (during assemblies)
- Forgiveness – through offering pupils the choice to say
- “Thank you for saying sorry. I forgive you but please don’t do it again”.
- Courage – through creating opportunities for pupils to try new skills and seek challenges (performances, physical activities) and by offering them to chance to speak up and champion the cause of others.
- Gratitude - through demonstrating how to be grateful and appreciative for the smallest and simplest things in life
All children will be given access to the RE curriculum regardless of gender, ability, sexual identity, ethnic origin, their beliefs, family up-brining and social circumstances and be given opportunities to flourish.
Special Educational Needs
The school will ensure that the children with SEN have full access to the RE curriculum at their own level of achievement. This is also facilitated via cross curriculum opportunities mentioned above.
Curriculum Monitoring and Policy Review
The RE subject leader will work in conjunction with the Phase leaders, SLT and Clergy to support the teaching and learning of RE throughout the school.
List of RE resources to support RE planning and teaching (in addition to Understanding Christianity)
(All those resources are kept in EYP Classroom and are available to borrow. Please speak to the Subject leader for Religious Education).
‘RE IDEAS, Celebrations’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘RE IDEAS, Community’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘RE IDEAS, Literacy’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘RE IDEAS, Journey’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘RE IDEAS, Sacred Words’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘RE IDEAS, Fairness and Justice’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘RE IDEAS, Christmas’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘Opening up Community, Learning from religion’ RE Today
‘Opening up Values; Learning from religion’, RE Today, Primary
‘Opening up Belongings; Learning from religion’, RE Today
‘Opening up Respect; Learning from religion’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘Opening up Easter; Learning from religion’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘Opening up Christianity’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘Opening up Creativity; Learning from religion’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘Opening up Thankfulness; Learning from religion’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘Opening up Promises; Learning from religion’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘Special times. Learning about and learning from religious festivals’ Developing Primary RE
‘Opening up Hinduism’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘Opening up Judaism’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘Opening up Islam’, RE Today, RE Today
‘Sacred Places’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘Muslim art and writing’ Curriculum Visions
‘Special people of faiths and action…and what inspires them’ Developing Primary RE
‘Expressive Arts’, RE Today, Primary RE
‘Spiritual Development’ RE Today, Primary RE
Policy Author: Deputy Head and RE Leader
Ownership: Curricular Committee
Last Review: November 2022
Next Review: Sept 2023
Ratified By/Date: 20th January 2020